Old Master Phleobold’s ever watchful eye had been so judiciously busied- finding fault with those remanded to his charge- that he had allowed his own aging process, to go all but unnoticed.
Oh, there had been the slight stiffness here, the creaky bend there, the quite natural thinning of hair. But it wasn’t until he caught sight of himself in a piece of a looking glass he seized from a groomsman he deemed unduly vain, that he came to wonder if the slanderous slurs of his underlings might actually have been rooted in truth.
This crease in the stiff collar of his self confidence could not have been inflicted upon him at a more inopportune time.
You see, the rambling estate to which the Old Master had devoted the entirety of his humble life in service, was under siege. Simultaneously it seems, by both the threat of a fire breathing dragon loping towards them from the south, and a vicious crack that had formed in the dam that safeguarded it’s fertile landscape from flood to the north.
An ‘All Hands on Deck’ had been sounded, and every able bodied man had been summoned to the site of the crack in the dam, leaving only our Old Master and what women folk could be spared from the running of the house to stand vigil against the possible onslaught of the dragon.
Now Old Master Phleobold despite his age, was every bit a proud man. And in so being, was ill-disposed to the possibility of being outdone by a milkmaid, should the dragon actually make an appearance while the men folk were otherwise engaged. So he set off on foot in a southerly direction to- as it were, head the dragon off at the pass.
The Old Master hunted dragons by night and slept in the dry washes left in the wake of the dam by day, completely unaware that anyone who knew anything about dragons- knew, that dragons hunt by day.
So I believe I’m safe in saying he was caught more off guard than most, when he was awakened of a dawn to the snort of a dragon, and the smell of his own, albeit sparse, singed hair.
Armed with only a dagger and a short length of rope, Old Master Phleobold found himself ill-suited to thwart the dragons advances, so he brandished the weapon he was most accustomed to welding, and belittled the dragon with a scourge of words that would have dropped a muscle bound farm hand to his knees. But sadly, they had no such effect on the dragon.
In defiance, the dragon chortled and hissed as he made good on his threat to advance.
It was then that the very earth bucked beneath them and a great roaring burst of water let loose from the dam. Our Old Master, now frozen with fear, let out a blood curdling scream followed by a damning list of vulgar epithets not fit for even unmixed company- which succeeded in dispatching the dragon just moments before the deluge swallowed up the once dry wash, and most unfortunately, our Old Master Phleobold with it.
Years passed during which the flood waters receded, and no further threat by the dragon was made. So when they finally found him, mouth agape, knee deep in muck, some say a legend was born.
Forever after, the once hated Old Master, was spoken about with reverence. Why even a pub song was penned in his honor, the refrain of which went something like this:
“T’was a sharp tongued Old Master,
who’s harsh words slewed the bastard.
While our men folk was up the dammed crick!”
This piece was inspired by the photo prompt supplied by Sadje’s What do you see? #4